Swetland Readers Book Club

Image of an open book from side angle

The Swetland Center is proud to announce the launch of the 'Swetland Readers Book Club'! We understand that learning comes in many forms and have created this forum to grow and learn together in community. 

The Swetland Readers has the following goals as we begin this journey together:

  • Deepen our knowledge of racial and environmental health equity.        
  • Develop a safe space to build relationships, and share experiences as community partners, students, faculty, and staff.
  • Explore the intersections of diverse perspectives on pressing environmental health issues.
  • Consider ways to integrate lessons learned from selected books into our current research and practices.         

Take a look at our upcoming reading selections and consider joining the club!


Braiding Sweetgrass
Title Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants
Author Robin Wall Kimmerer

"Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings—asters and goldenrod, strawberries and squash, salamanders, algae, and sweetgrass—offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices. In a rich braid of reflections that range from the creation of Turtle Island to the forces that threaten its flourishing today, she circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. For only when we can hear the languages of other beings will we be capable of understanding the generosity of the earth, and learn to give our own gifts in return."

The summer book club will be held in partnership with CWRU's Social Justice Institute and the Prevention Research Institute for Healthy Neighborhoods.

Meeting Dates

All meetings will be held from 11:30am-1:00pm and will be "drop-in" style. Feel free to join us when it's convenient for you! Meetings will be on the following dates:

  • Thursday June 9, 2022 [hybrid]
  • Thursday June 23, 2022 [hybrid]
  • Thursday July 7, 2022 [virtual]
  • Thursday July 21, 2022 [hybrid]

Hybrid sessions will be held on the fourth floor of the BioEnterprise Building [11000 Cedar Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44106] in RM 436 for those who wish to join in person. Zoom links will be sent out several days prior to the meeting.



Silent Spring
Title Silent Spring
Author Rachel Carson
Description         Our Summer 2021 book selection is "Silent Spring" written by Rachel Carson, published in 1962. In the 1950s, David W. Swetland and Mary Ann Swetland felt that not enough was understood about the unintended health consequences of chemical, agricultural, and industrial products in our environment. Their resolve to change the world’s perception of environmental threats was reinforced by Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring.” Join us and our summer interns in reading this pivotal environmental sciences book!
Free Download Silent Spring PDF
Meeting Dates            

Friday, June 25th, 2021 || 10:30-12:00pm EST

Friday, July 23rd, 2021 || 10:30-12:00pm EST


Cover of the book Farming While Black by Lisa Penniman
Title Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm's Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
Author Leah Penniman
Description         "Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to their decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land.  Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through innovative programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice leadership training, Penniman is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid."
Learn More Soul Fire Farm
Meeting Dates            

Friday, April 30th, 2021 || 10:30-12:00pm EST

Friday, May 21st, 2021 || 10:30-12:00pm EST